A Clearer View

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4 Reasons to Think Twice Before Buying Eyeglasses Online

by Damion Wasylow 21 February 2019 08:33 AM

woman in oversized eyeglasses
In a world where it’s increasingly convenient to buy many things online, some patients are even turning to the Internet for their eyeglasses. While the accessibility and pricing of retail optical websites may be attractive, there are several reasons to think twice before clicking the buy button.

1. Questionable quality and safety

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Optometry found that eyeglasses purchased online were more likely to be deemed unsafe or unacceptable due to poor frame fit, unsatisfactory appearance or inaccurate measurements. In fact, 44.8% of the eyeglasses ordered online by study participants included an inaccurate prescription or failed to meet safety standards.

2. Inability to try them on

No two faces are alike, and subtle differences mean a lot when it comes to eyeglasses. Multiple accurate measurements are necessary to perfectly fit your frames to your unique features. Frames that are too large, too heavy or don’t correctly sit on your nose will slip. Frames that are too small may pinch your nose or temples and become extremely uncomfortable. In addition to being uncomfortable, this can cause vision problems. An experienced local optician at a brick-and-mortar optical shop can take precise measurements and help you find frames that fit your face properly and match your needs. Nearly as important, you get to see the frames actually on your face, not just through some idealized 3-D rendering. 

3. Inaccurate pupil distance measurement

Pupil distance (PD) is arguably the most important measurement for finding frames and lenses that will optimize your vision. PD determines where to place the center of each lens in your frames to match the unique composition of your eyes. This has a huge impact on your improved vision quality. Unfortunately, this measurement is not usually provided with your eyeglass prescription, and it is extremely difficult to measure accurately on your own. Online retailers may reference a variety of do-it-yourself alternatives, but usually recommend going back to your optometrist for this measurement. Well, if you have to go back to your eyecare practice anyway, if they offer an in-house optical, why not just get your glasses there?

4. Limited access to multifocal lenses

Fitting multifocal lenses, like bifocals, trifocals or progressives, is especially challenging. In fact, it’s so intricate that most online eyeglasses retailers won’t even attempt it. Still, some websites will work with customers one-on-one to try to achieve a successful result. While in a brick and mortar setting, the measurements necessary for mutlifocals are taken after the frame is selected and personally fitted, without that ability, these online retailers have to estimate and hope for the best. 

Shopping online is a great option for a lot of things, but when it comes to your vision, it’s hard to overstate the value of a local optical shop. If you are in the market for your next pair of eyeglasses, stop by one of our two convenient Gainesville optical shops today or contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care at 352-373-4300.



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